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Can I Move a Car to New Zealand?

Updated: Feb 25, 2020



Can I Move a Car to New Zealand?


Moving your car to New Zealand is a simple process and many people do it every year. When compared to selling your car and buying again when you arrive, shipping your car can definitely be a more economical choice.


Here are a few tips for getting your car to New Zealand quickly and safely:


Have Your Vehicle Professionally Cleaned


All vehicles being imported to New Zealand must be inspected by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). If your vehicle is found to have any contaminants on board (grass seeds, soil or other organic matter) it will be submitted for a clean and vacuum (charged at around $200NZD). The majority of cars fail inspection (almost 80%), but having it cleaned gives it a better chance of passing and saving you money. You can either organise this yourself or a good freight provider will be able to organise this on your behalf.



Paying Customs and GST


On import, you will need to pay GST (currently 15% in New Zealand) on the value of your car. Value is calculated as the cost of the vehicle, plus insurance, plus freight. It is possible to apply for a GST exemption and avoid paying the tax, but the following criteria must be met:

  • You must be a first-time immigrant or a returning New Zealand citizen,

  • If you are a returning citizen, you must have left New Zealand over 21 months ago,

  • Sign a deed stating that you will not sell the car for at least two (2) years,

  • You must have used and owned the car for over twelve (12) months,

  • Have proof of ownership for the last twelve (12) months,

  • Have a purchase receipt or current New Zealand valuation from a local dealer

Applying for GST exemption must be completed in New Zealand at the time of import.

You should be prepared to pay the GST amount even if you are applying for an exemption.


There may also be other customs & quarantine processing charges and you should check with your freight provider to determine any that may apply to your situation.


Motor Vehicle Registration and Compliance


All cars that are destined to be driven on public roads in New Zealand must be registered. In order to be registered a car must pass the Frontal Impact Compliance and Certification by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).


Before deciding if you’d like to ship your vehicle to New Zealand, we recommend you contact NZTA for advice about your vehicle and if it will pass. If your car is for off-road use, or to be housed in a collection these checks are not required.


Expected Delivery Times


A car can be shipped to New Zealand from Australia in around two (2) weeks, this includes about four (4) days at sea and the other time taken up by loading and customs checks.


Shipping from other parts of the world can take a while longer as it has further to travel, but on average coming from the USA or Europe, it can take around six (6) weeks.


Costs for Shipping


Car prices in New Zealand are on average around 10% higher than that of a similar car purchased in Australia. To ship your car to New Zealand the transport costs are generally only around $2000, depending on the route. Many transport companies can assist you with the paperwork required. Although this can often be cheaper than selling and re-purchasing once you arrive in New Zealand, it will depend on your own situation and the value of your car.



Choosing a Shipping Method


The shipping method you choose can affect how long your car is in transport, the overall cost and what you can send with it.


  • Roll on Roll Off (RORO)


RORO shipping is very similar to a car ferry, expect much larger! Think about it as a massive underground car park keeping your vehicle safe from the elements. New car manufacturers use this method for getting their brand new vehicles shipped all around the world!


It is not possible to drive your own car on board, it must be towed by an authorised transport company. When you ship with RORO you also cannot store anything inside the vehicle.


Shipping via RORO is set for specific dates and does not depart as often as container shipping. Vehicles are usually cleared through customs faster as they are only checking cars and no other goods.


If you only need to send your vehicle, RORO is usually the cheaper option. If you need to ship household goods as well you may consider:


  • Container Shipping


Shipping your car via container is possible and it does mean that you are able to ship other goods with your car. It is possible to ship up to three cars inside a container, depending on size and ships depart more frequently.


Container shipping is a good option if you need to ship other items along with your car, and you have more options available for departure days. Remember to consider that you may have a longer wait at customs.


If you have any questions about moving your car or other contents to New Zealand take a look at ShipinBoxes' page on Shipping your car to New Zealand or alternatively, don't hesitate to contact one of the friendly team at ShipinBoxes and we'll be more than happy to assist!






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